Rather than build an indoor swimming pool or make room for tennis courts, Kevin O'Connor, CIO at Paddy Power, has spent £200,000 on a home automation system for his London home as part of a house renovation project costing over £1m.
The Clipsal home automation system controls the lights, underfloor heating and gas fires. Even the opening and closing of the curtains have been programmed using programming language, Pascal.
"Having "done IT for others" for more than 20 years, I wanted to apply technology to my home, for my family's benefit, in a very direct manner, in a creative, state of the art way that augmented our behaviour and enhanced our lifestyles in everything that we did," said O'Connor.
See Computer Weekly's tour around Kevin O'Connor's house
O'Connor's home automation system is controlled via three touch-screen computers, which run Windows XP. The Clipsal system is also used by the Formula One headquarters and Wembley stadium.
O'Connor has an in-house rack to power the technology, called the "comms room". It uses 96 category 6 cable standards to power 10GB Ethernet technology.
"I wanted the technology not to be geeky or gadgety, or for its application to appear intrusive or unnatural. I wanted the automation to act as one with us in enhancing our lifestyles in whatever we were doing in the house," he said.
O'Connor added, "The technology should anticipate what we want to happen and just make it so. The technical elements of the project were challenging, but the creativity and imagination required was the real challenge, especially as I have not seen this done before."